First Royal Mail telephone (c.1881)

Royal Mail was one of the first adopters of the telephone, following its invention by Frederic Allan Gower and Alexander Graham Bell. The 'Gower Bell' was one of the Royal Mail's first standard telephones. Enclosed in the polished wooden cabinet is a receiver with a round ceramic talk piece at its top and two flexible tubes covered in plaited rayon cord with wooden earpieces on the end. The cabinet is attached to a wooden plate for securing to the wall. The calling signal was a trembler bell which is a forerunner of ringing tone.

By 1891, the Gower Bell telephone had become known as the Universal telephone, as it could be adapted for use under practically any conditions likely to be met with in Post Office service.